Google announces Rs 135 crore in funding to support India amid COVID-19 crisis

Amazon is donating 10000 oxygen concentrators while Microsoft is mobilising resources to help India battle the second wave.
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Google, on Monday, announced Rs 135 crore ($18 million) in new funding for India to help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment for the country, which is currently battling a devastating second wave of COVID-19. The donation includes two grants from, Google's philanthropic arm, totalling Rs 20 crore. 

"The first is to GiveIndia to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses. The second will go to UNICEF to help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, to where it's needed most in India," said Sanjay Gupta, Country Head and VP, Google India.

It also includes donations from Google's ongoing employee giving campaign — so far more than 900 Googlers have contributed Rs 3.7 crore for organisations supporting high-risk and marginalised communities. 

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted: “Devastated to see the worsening Covid crisis in India. Google & Googlers are providing Rs 135 Crore in funding to @GiveIndia,@UNICEF for medical supplies, orgs supporting high-risk communities, and grants to help spread critical information.”

India is going through its most difficult phase in the pandemic thus far. Daily COVID-19 cases continue to set record highs, with hospitals filled to capacity and in need of urgent supplies to cope with the increasing number of patients. 

The Google funding also includes increased Ad Grant support for public health information campaigns. "We're increasing our support today with an additional Rs 112 crore in Ad Grants to local health authorities and nonprofits for more language coverage options," Gupta mentioned.

In India, the COVID-19 features on Search are available in English and eight Indian languages, and the company said it is continuing to improve localisation and highlight information. 

"That includes information on where to get testing and vaccines; so far, Maps and Search surface thousands of vaccine sites, and we are working to add tens of thousands more. We're also collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and with organisations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to support vaccine awareness initiatives," Google elaborated.

Google said it is also supporting the government in its vaccine communication strategy, on YouTube, as well as working to provide authoritative information and reduce misinformation. “We recently ran a workshop for 200+ health officials to learn how they can use YouTube to reach audiences across Indian languages with vaccine information. And we’ve added support for public donations for several nongovernmental organisations on Google Pay,” Gupta added. 

Amazon, on Sunday, announced that it is donating 10,000 oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines to hospitals and public institutions to increase their capacity to help COVID-19 infected patients across multiple cities in India.

Amazon has joined hands with ACT Grants, Temasek Foundation, Pune Platform for COVID-19 Response (PPCR) and other partners to urgently airlift over 8,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 BiPAP machines from Singapore. Additionally, Amazon India is also procuring over 1,500 oxygen concentrators and other critical medical equipment in partnership with nonprofits including Swasth, Concern India. 

"We stand firmly with the country, deploying our global logistics network to urgently airlift the needed oxygen concentrators to support the nation's immediate need," said Amit Agarwal, Global SVP and Country Head, Amazon India.

Amazon said it will bear the cost of airlifting oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines, procured through multiple funders including ACT Grants and PPCR from Singapore to India through Air India and other international carriers. Additionally, the company said it will also manage the movement of these oxygen concentrators and other donations from the local airport to identified hospitals and institutions. 

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Monday said that the company is mobilising its resources to help the COVID-ravaged nation that saw 352,991 fresh infections, taking the cumulative caseload to 17,313,163.

In a tweet, Nadella said that he is grateful that the US government is mobilising help. "I am heartbroken by the current situation in India. I'm grateful the U.S. government is mobilising to help. Microsoft will continue to use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief efforts, and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices.”

With IANS inputs

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